To celebrate the state’s Bicentennial, the Maine Film Center and 19 other arts and education organizations and independent cinemas have joined together to present Maine in the Movies, a 17-city festival of 35 films set in Maine, March 5 through 15 throughout the state.

“Maine is a state of mind and imagination whose enigma and beauty have, from the very beginning, inspired writers, visual artists, and their natural descendants, filmmakers,” said Mike Perreault, MFC executive director, according to a news release from Nathan Towne, of Waterville Creates!. Maine in the Movies will showcase screenings for all ages, some accompanied by discussions with knowledgeable guests.

Over the course of the festival, audiences will see an expansive, sometimes unfamiliar, often surprising vision of Maine: fanciful and funny in some cases; down to earth and culturally revealing in others. A perfect example of the latter is Academy Honorary Award recipient Frederick Wiseman’s epic portrait of Belfast, Maine (1999), according to the release.

“We’re lucky such a great filmmaker as Fred Wiseman chronicled our community two decades ago so all who view the film now can better know what’s transpired here since,” said Mike Hurley, owner of Belfast’s Colonial Theatre where the film will play March 7, according to the release.

Among the festival’s films are those from the earliest days — “Jean the Match-Maker” (1910) and “Way Down East” (1920) — to the most recent — “The Lighthouse” (2019) and “Blow the Man Down” (2019) — as well as classic dramas, family movies, thrillers, fantasies, musicals,and comedies like “Peyton Place” (1957), “Andre” (1994), “Dolores Claiborne” (1993), “Aquaman” (2018), “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel” (1956), and “How to Marry a Millionaire” (1953), the first film made in the CinemaScope process that ushered in the wide-screen era.

Most were based on literary works, including many by such famous Maine authors as Stephen King (“The Shawshank Redemption,” 1994), Laura E. Richards (“Shirley Temple’s Captain January,” 1936), Richard Russo (“Empire Falls,” 2005), Elizabeth Strout (“Olive Kitteridge,” 2014), and E. B. White (“Charlotte’s Web,” 1973 and 2006).

For more information, visit

filed under: